Using indicators: seven steps to measure your environmental performance

A seven-step method allows you to use environmental performance indicators to improve your company's results.

The method presented in this section aims to improve a company's environmental performance. It can be summarized in a seven-stage cycle and comprises three main stages:

Graphic. Shows the 7 steps to improve the environmental performance of a business

Source: OECD guidelines on sustainable production

Preparing your SME

  • Estimating your environmental impact. This means understanding how to set up a team dedicated to sustainable development, setting your goals and establishing your priorities.
  • Choosing environmental performance indicators. Selection of criteria essential for the SME’s activity.

Measuring the SME’s sustainability

  • Measuring the sustainability of production factors. The entrepreneur should understand how the materials used for production impact the environment.
  • Measuring the sustainability of operational processes. The entrepreneur assesses the efficiency of production processes (for example, by measuring greenhouse gas releases).
  • Measuring the sustainability of the end product. This step consists of measuring the energy consumption of the end product and its proportion of recyclable materials.

Improving the SME’s performance

  • Analyzing sustainability measurements. The entrepreneur takes the time to read, analyze and understand all information accumulated in detail.
  • Taking action to improve the SME’s sustainability. The last part of the method consists of choosing the sectors to be improved and creating an action plan to implement these new ideas.

This seven-stage process should be considered as a cycle to be repeated on a regular basis. In fact, SMEs are constantly being presented with new opportunities for protection of the environment. The purpose of sustainable development is not to achieve an end result, but to constantly improve your company and keep learning in this field.

While it is difficult to evaluate the time it will take to apply all seven stages within an SME, it is very likely that the first effects of this process will already be felt after just a few months.


Last modification 31.05.2021

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